New Albany fire chief wonders what no overtime in 2009 will bring, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).
The City Council passed it, now New Albany Fire Department Chief Matt Juliot has to live with it.
No money is appropriated for overtime pay in the department beginning Jan. 1, the result of budget cuts approved by the council …
… Juliot said losing the option of overtime may mean cutting service.
“At this point in time, I don’t know what else to do,” he said.
I don’t, either, but perhaps it’s time to humor the Kool-Aid drinkers in the Norquist camp and privatize the lot -- a complete and all-encompassing imposition of user fees on all the services people expect from government but wish not to pay for ... if by "paying" we mean taxes, and running the insulting risk that my money might be used by someone I don't like very much.
Never mind that the reverse might be true. Hypocrisy needn't make sense.
It’s even worse now owing to the economic malaise, but even in better times, we've seen voters pleading poverty, both in terms of cash and in the larger sense of communal insensibility, and opting for devotion to candidates like 3rd district councilman Steve Price, who vows to drown all government in the bathtub, and whose legislative agenda achieves the desired end of starving local authority of the resources to function – all in the name of the downtrodden, who simply can't deal with reality without assistance.
The question remains whether Price and his ilk really are helping this segment of the population.
At any rate, because local government continues to be populated largely by elected officials whose ambitions are indiscernible from the ward heeler’s bare minimum, and who won’t or can’t comprehend the notion of supporting reasonable efforts to make the pie bigger for everyone through paying periodic attention to good ideas about economic development proposed by trained and educated pointy-heads who can't be trusted by people who don't customarily read past the funny pages, budget cuts are duly made amid a heroic cacophony of nickel-and-dime political grandstanding.
As correctly identified by Chief Juliot, the inevitable result of this endlessly corrosive cycle of mandated legislative impotence is the slashing of services, which leads us to that most delicious of junctures, as the people so loudly demanding ever smaller government now must explain the prioritizing of resources made necessary by their refusal to pay a few dollars more – and bitching until the cows come home when the ambulance doesn’t show up all time.
Have they considered the re-privatization of fire services, and the re-establishment of fire insurance marking? Wikipedia helpfully explains the way it used to be.
Fire Insurance MarksHere and now, in the contemporary Norquistian era of rampant selfishness disguised as reasoned doctrine, and where no one wants to pay for anything except their half-dozen weekly trips to Wally World, it looks like we’re back to old way of doing things, Mafioso-cum-protection style, to wit:
Fire insurance marks were lead or copper plaques embossed with the sign of the insurance company, and placed on the front of the insured building as a guide to the insurance company's fire brigade. They are common in the older areas of Britain's and America's cities and larger towns. They were used on the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the days before municipal fire services were formed. The UK marks are called 'Fire insurance plaques' the first to use the mark was the Sun Fire Office before 1700.
American Fire Marks
Fire Insurance has over 200 years of history in America. Famous fires include the Chicago fire of 1871 and the San Francisco of 1906. The early fire marks of Benjamin Franklin's time can still be seen on some Philadelphia buildings as well as in other older American cities. Subscribers paid fire fighting companies in advance for fire protection and in exchange would receive a fire mark to attach to their building. The payments for the fire marks supported the fire fighting companies. If the protected building were to suffer a fire only their fire fighting company would attend the call to extinguish the fire. Even if competitor fire companies were closer to the fire they would not do anything to prevent further damage or extinguish the fire. This caused bad public relations for the fire mark system. Municipal and rural fire departments support by local taxation became a more logical solution.
Need a fire put out, or a cop to come take the gun away from your meth-crazed stepson? Well, we sure hope you're taken the necessary advance steps to procure service contracts and insurance. Otherwise, we can't help you ... and anyone who can remember what a civilized society resembled, you may wish to pack enough heat to keep the wolves at bay until the monthly check clears.
And guess who will be hurt the most by such a system of non-governance?
The very same downtrodden people who Steve Price says he’s trying to protect from the 21st century. In an irony-free zone, neither he nor they are likely ever to awaken and figure that part out.